Friday, August 21, 2009

Re-Awakening of my Blog and Doug Sweetland

So, I'll start by saying that my blog has been sadly neglected for waaaaay to long. Not because I've dropped out of animation, not because I don't still draw every day, but just because some things have changed in my life and I kind of left it all alone to sit and cry and wonder if ever I would return.

Well, I'm back. And because no one really reads my blog way, no one probably ever noticed. No biggie, but I'm back. :)

I'm taking this blog in a new direction now to help me journal my own progress in animation and hopefully collect my thoughts in a way that I can easily refer back to them...

On that note, here are some things that I've learned tonight about story from the Pixar animator/director, Doug Sweetland. (Thank you so much Doug for coming to Portland and talking to us, you KICK ASS!)

I'll start by saying that story is one of those things that just hurts me to do. I feel like my ideas don't make sense, aren't funny, and just don't connect in the right way to tell a good story. On the other hand, I LOVE story, good ones that is, and I wish I had a good idea of how to really create a good story.

Doug has helped open my eyes on some points that I have been unaware of or just not focused on.

1. Story is not a linear process, it is a free flowing process of ideas where you progress by throwing things away.

2. By putting in the work of developing those ideas that you'll probably just throw out, you may just stumble upon little gems that you might not really notice until you've been all the way through the process.Plus, sometimes it is the order of the story elements that is off and in working through them/re-arranging ideas, you can come up with a better, stronger whole.

3. Don't think that you know all the answers, let the answers tell you what they are when you finally get to them.

4. Ask for feedback, brutal, honest, feedback. If you aren't getting the reaction you hoped for, look more closely at what you have and throw out everything that doesn't work. But always get feedback, you don't know all the answers, ask others for their opinion and listen.

Doug explained the process that he went through in directing the short Presto and it really blew me away to hear how much he went through to get to such a wonderful little gem. Presto has that feeling of the classic Looney Tunes cartoons while still being done in 3D. It was one of the films that really got me excited about 3D again because of the fact that it wasn't trying to be some amazingly grand production but instead relied on the simplicity and beauty of the struggle between the two main characters. Pixar is pretty good about not trying to do super realistic 3D which is another thing I truly appreciate and the two ideas play together so well. It's no wonder that it is a product of some very hard work.

Thanks again Doug and please come back to Portland any time.

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